In England, Wales and Scotland, there is a time limit of three years in which you can bring forward a personal injury claim. This three year limit applies to practically all personal injury claims so unless legal proceedings are started within three years, you cannot make a claim.
The reason for this, is that after three years personal injury claims are time-barred. The three year limit starts from your Date of Limitation, otherwise known as the Date of Knowledge. This is the date to which your injuries became clear as a result of your accident or the date of your accident. The Date of Knowledge is important, because it means that in cases of industrial disease and in cases of other injuries and illnesses that can take a long time to develop, one can still make a claim. So if you have an illness like an asbestos-related disease, you can still make a claim even if your exposure to asbestos was decades ago.
If cases of death, there is a three year limit which starts from the date of death or from the date the death was linked to an illness. Importantly, if during the claims process the claimant sadly passes away, the three year limit starts over from their date of death, thus allowing the family of the claimant to continue with the claims process. If you are unsure about any of this, call a claim helpline for accidents to find out more.
Exceptions Apply under the Mental Health Act 1983
The three year limit to making a personal injury claim does not apply to those who are mentally incapable of making a claim themselves or those who have been treated under the Mental Health Act 1983, such as if that person has been sectioned. The three year limit only applies to these people, once it has been established they are mentally capable of acting for themselves without the aid or help of somebody else.
What if My Accident happened Outside of the UK?
If your accident happened outside of the UK, then the law of the land comes into effect, meaning that any time limit you have depends on the legal structure of the country that you were injured in. A lot of EU countries have the same time limit as the UK. For instance, Germany has a three year limit under Section 195 of the German Civil Code. If you have been involved in an accident in another country, it’s important that you get the right legal representation. A solicitor in the UK is still the best person to handle your claim, however, so do feel free to contact law firms and enquire about their experience.